Manchester United have had quite the summer so far. We’re only in the second week of June, and they can already boast of signing one of Europe’s best managers in Jose Mourinho, along with splashing £30 million on Eric Bailly to strengthen their defence.
There is a move on the horizon though, which would top all of this. One of the biggest names in world football, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is a free agent this summer, and there have been widespread rumours of the Swede moving to Old Trafford. The former Paris Saint-Germain striker is a very good friend of Mourinho, having worked with the Portuguese at Inter Milan. The 6 feet 5 inch frontman will be 35 later this year, but is still a hugely sought-after commodity. United are reportedly willing to offer him a whopping £250,000 pounds per week, as stated by The Telegraph.
He scored 50 goals in 51 appearances at PSG last season, and there are no signs of his goalscoring abilities abating anytime soon.
United though, are in a precarious position as a club at the moment. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013, they have only managed one trophy of note – the FA Cup last season. David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to fill the great Scot’s boots, and now it’s Mourinho’s turn to try his luck. The odds look to be in his favour with his illustrious track-record, but football is unpredictable.
Signing Ibrahimovic may not necessarily be the smartest move in the world at the moment for the Red Devils. Here are 3 reasons why:
1) Hindrance to some of the brightest young talents in Europe
Van Gaal may not have exactly covered himself in glory with his work at United in the last couple of years, but there is one thing he can take a lot of credit for. The Dutchman promoted talented youngsters from the club’s youth product to the first-team, and paved the way for the coming years. The likes of Jesse Lingard, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson all became important parts of the team during last season. The biggest breakthrough to come out of the 2015/16 campaign though, was striker Marcus Rashford.
The Englishman made his debut only in February and is now on his way to the European Championships in France with the national side. At just 18, he looks like being a sure-shot superstar in the future for both club and country. Alongside Rashford is Anthony Martial, a 20 year-old signed by Van Gaal from Monaco last summer. The Frenchman is also tipped to have a stellar future, and was one of the shining lights of United’s campaign last year.
These players need game time, and Ibrahimovic isn’t going to settle for a place on the bench either. The latter’s reputation is bound to win in the end, and this will be a huge hurdle in Rashford and Martial’s progress.
2) Not proven in the Premier League
This is debatable, but the fact that Ibrahimovic has never played in the Premier League means that United will have to tread with care. Offering an unproven player £250,000 per week is risky, even when the player in question is the mighty Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede has been fantastic in the last decade, but this has been with the likes of PSG, AC Milan and Inter Milan. He did most of his scoring in leagues where the competition was minimal, and finishing 1st was almost a given. The fact that he hasn’t won a single Champions League crown to accompany his countless league titles prove that.
The Premier League is a jungle where every animal is as ferocious as the other. Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are all likely to be at their full strength next season, and Ibrahimovic may find himself in unfamiliar territory in a short period of time.
3) Same old, same old from Mourinho
Mourinho may be a great manager, having won league titles in Portugal, Italy, Spain and England since the turn of the millennium. Nurturing and promoting young talent though, is not one of his strong suits. He prefers buying proven players from around the world and forging them into a solid unit. He has a habit of loaning out prodigies from the youth system rather than integrating them into the first-team. Signing Ibrahimovic to cost Rashford and Martial their places will be another indicator of that fact. He may bring success, but it will only be in the short-term.
Do you agree with the above, or do you believe that Ibrahimovic will be a fantastic signing for United? Leave your opinions in the comments below.